NEWS

Mount Lemmon Sky Center was busy this June hosting middle and high school students kicking off an exciting new initiative called Project POEM (Project-Based Learning Opportunities and Exploration of Mentorship for Students with Visual Impairments in STEM). This million-dollar project funded by NSF provides hands-on learning over 14 months to VI students and fosters mentor/mentee relationships with UA students majoring in STEM areas. While STEM fields such as astronomy can be highly visual in nature, they shouldn’t be considered inaccessible to blind or low-vision students, says Sunggye Hong, associate professor in Disability and Psychoeducational Studies. Hong is collaborating with UA’s Planetary Sciences and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. The students will continue to participate in a science curriculum that uses 3-D modeling.
People with visual impairments continue to be highly underrepresented in STEM. “Not a lot of visually impaired students are choosing STEM as their potential career area,” Hong says. “We wanted to work together to come up with some motivational, inspirational, scientific projects that increase the motivation of kids who are blind or visually impaired toward STEM.”

This information came from azbigmedia.com, UA helps visually impaired ‘see’ science.

 

We know skilled teachers leave lasting impressions on their students, and for Jennifer Chee, her students did the same in turn for her- right on the fabric of her dress. Jennifer Chee, who was named 2018 Outstanding Student Teacher in Early Childhood, created unique, wearable art with the students she taught as a student-teacher at Gale Elementary and at Gentle Hands Center for Children. The early childhood program director, Donna Jurich, noted that Jennifer connected head and heart in her approach to build an inclusive classroom community using funds of knowledge. Congratulations, Jennifer on earning you degree with flying colors!

We are each affected by water supply issues. Scientists use immense datasets to develop computational models to explain what is happening and to develop solutions. To address these problems, the general public needs a level of environmental science literacy. This video on CompHydro is a submisstion to an annual video showcase, funded by NSF to improve STEM learning and teaching.

DPS Professor Shirin Antia was the keynote speaker at the college's convocation ceremony. The speech was so well received that many have requested a copy, which you can download here.

Photo by John de Dios.

Undergraduate Sarah Azhar earned a selective summer internship at NASA to work in their Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. The Jet Propulsion Lab is the leading center of robotic exploration of the solar system. Azhar will be creating online training and education modules for lab staff. She will graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Literacy, Learning & Leadership in May. It goes to show the many directions that education can lead.

Monique Perez, a Literacy, Learning, and Leadership alumna, was selected to intern as a project assistant for the Library of Congress. Working at the largest library in the world was a dream job for Perez, who by the age of 8 had decided she wanted to become a career librarian.

The internship was an opportunity through a program with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. She is now pursuing a master’s in Library & Information Science at UA.

From UA News: Leah Durán grew up hearing her grandparents speak Spanish, but it wasn't until she became fluent in the language and started her teaching career that she found her passion for bilingual education. Today, that passion has led to her appointment as the 2018 Richard Ruiz Scholar/Artist in Residence.

Dean Bruce Johnson welcomed tribal community members in late March, to discuss ways of sustaining language and culture, and ensure meaningful relationships between the college and tribal nations. Highlighted were ways in which the Indigenous Teacher Education Project, the American Indian Language Development Institute, and our elementary education program brought this initiative to life. The Indigenous Teacher Education Project, led by Assistant Professors Valerie Shirley and Jeremy Garcia, and Project Coordinator Kari Chew has a mission of increasing the number of indigenous who serve indigenous communities.
In addition to panel of indigenous graduate students and alumni who shared their experiences in education doctoral programs, Associate Professor Sheilah Nicholas shared her research on Indigenous Language Immersion and Native American Student Achievement. Professor Leisy Wyman presented developments with the Engaging Native Boys Project, and AILDI Coordinator Alyce Sadongei provided updates on the American Indian Language Development Institute.

Local alumni had a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the African elephants of Reid Park Zoo in February. Gudrun Godare and Randall Smith, pictured here, were two of many who attended the event. Alumni and college faculty and staff enjoyed socializing and learning about the elephants from Sue Tygielski (UA Class of ‘94 and ’05). Did you know, for instance, that many elephant calls are too low for human hearing ability? We loved getting the chance to connect with our community.

The Creative Arts Teen Summit effectively kicks off the Tucson Festival of Books each year. Just as some authors and illustrators arrange local school visits when they come to Tucson for the festival, some volunteer to provide workshops in illustration and creative writing to high school students here on campus the Friday before the festival. This is event is a collaboration between College of Education, Early Academic Outreach, UA Bookstores and, of course TFOB. We were fortunate to have the following presenters this year: Gloria Chao, Molly Idle, Marie Marquardt, Margarita Engle, Steven Engle, Rafael López, Anne Sibley O’Brien, Maya Christina Gonzalez, Juana Martinez-Neal, and a discussion panel that also included master story-teller Luis Alberto Urrea. Urrea told his story of finding his way to writing, complete with voice impressions of his cousin Hugo and his Abuelita, and implored the audience that the world needs your stories to bear witness. Along the same vein, Marquardt said, "Young adults are the ones changing the world, we need their stories." Each of the writers and illustrators is passionate in their connection with the teen students and workshop sessions are a potentially pivotal highlight for the students. Student participants are close to three-hundred in number and and they visit from ten area high schools.